Hansen refutes French dirty play claims

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Lynn McConnell     10 Jun 2018     Getty Images

Hansen said he could understand the French being miffed that they lost a player to a yellow card while the All Blacks had been unpunished as a result of the tackle which left wing Remi Grosso with two facial fractures.


"As I said last night I don't think their guy should have been yellow carded. Nor do I think that Ofa [Tuungafasi] should have been yellow-carded either.

"Our game, as I said the other day, is really fluid, there's movement in it and when you get two guys coming in to make a tackle on one things can change late and I think that's what happened.

"Sammy [Cane] made the tackle and Ofa ended up hitting him in the face with his shoulder accidentally so there's no intention to hurt him and unfortunately it's one of those things. All three of them got head knocks. Sam got an elbow to the face from the French guy as well," he said.

"When the game is fluid like it is and players change their angle late and you've committed, especially of you're a big guy, about 126-127 kgs like Ofa is it's difficult to get out of the way so it's accidental and just one of those things."

In response to Brunel's specific claims that the All Blacks were cheating, Hansen said the All Blacks had been called cheats for 100 years.

"If you keep winning I suppose people have got to find reasons…like Richie McCaw was the biggest cheat ever. He didn't cheat, he just played to the letter of the law. When Auckland were playing Canterbury they were the biggest cheats and then Canterbury got on top and they were the biggest cheats so you've just go to roll with that sort of stuff and don't take too much notice of it," he said.

Having reviewed the game twice Hansen said while they were rusty to start with they had begun to work on the areas they wanted. He felt the All Blacks controlled the pace of the game. The substitutes had made a real difference.

"We've still got a lot of work to do but it was a good start," he said.

There was enough coming out of the game to be further developed to ensure minds would be well occupied in the preparation for the second Test on Saturday in Wellington.

Specifically the restarts needed work and while they got away with them in Auckland they had looked 'pretty ugly', he said.

Because France would be hurting after the loss he expected they would be like New Zealand in the same circumstances and turning up with a pretty staunch attitude and a willingness to really give it a crack. They also had reinforcements coming that would also make them stronger, he said.

Hansen felt the All Blacks scrummed well, and were unlucky to cop an early scrum penalty, their lineout was very good and able to put the French under pressure and around the park they had done what they needed to do.

The lineout disruption was such that France were only able to win seven of their 12 lineouts, with flanker Liam Squire especially effective in disputing French throws. That was down to research before hand, Hansen said.

Some of the front fives running lines needed tidying but he had no quibble with their work on core roles.